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· 1:Punk Parenthood for the Sleep Deprived XII
· 2: Tear A Cognita #07: Minneapolis, Minnesota
· 3:Louis Jacinto Photo Column - Patti Smith
· 4:Featured Book Reviews from Issue #91
· 5:A Tribute to John Stabb


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ERGS, THE:
The Ben Kweller EP: CD
This is the cutest record I’ve heard in long time, and I like it. It’s so sweet, but it’s done so well. It’s poppy and they sing about not getting the girl, about having to kill the girl’s boyfriend, about having a pool party to look at the girl they like. The only negative thing I have to say is about the last track. There’s thirty seconds of feedback, the one minute song, a hidden track of a Randy Newman parody, then a NKOTB parody (the “girl, you’re wicked awesome” song.) It’s just too much for me. Cut all that crap out and I love the album.
–megan (Fongul)


ELEPHANT MAN:
Self-titled: 7"
This Bay Area band (or project?) features members of Capitalist Casualties, Agents of Satan and Plutocracy. Lyrics, I assume, are sung in Japanese because that is how they are written out and I can’t tell from the screaming pouring out of my speakers. The music is heavily Black Sabbath soaked but tends to veer out of control into the thrash vein. Slow, fast, slow, fast. It makes me dizzy. An aural experience of pain and despair with rage and aggression. Like smoking pot for awhile, then doing some lines of methamphetamine and some heavy drinking to come back down. Their cover of Black Flag’s “Thirsty and Miserable” kicks ass on Lemmy’s (Motorhead) version on the Rise Above comp. Music that would put my nut sack into knots.
–don (Impatience or Indifference)


EE:
For 100 We Try Harder: CD
...for 200 will you cease trying completely? WORST SONG: "Swallowed East" (Christ, i HOPE that's the worst song!) WORST SONG TITLE: "Promise Sleeps Under a Tree" FANTASTIC AMAZING BLURB FROM BAND BIO: "A fluid mixture of textured pop, improvisational post-rock, torrential washes of noise, and droning instrumentals gives EE the quality to both embrace and challenge the indie rock status quo from whence they came."
–norb (Asian Man)


EAST ARCADIA:
We Only See From Where We Stand: CD
Pop punk with meaningful, if non-specific lyrics. Some bands tell you society sucks, some show you how it does, or why it does, these guys write metaphors around it. There is a definite posi-core vibe to this – there is bad, but a feeling we will overcome. I keep going back and forth between if these guys remind me more of Strike Anywhere (which they sound a LOT like – but more in an affinity sense than a rip off one) or the weird rarity of Christian punk that is more punk than Christian (it does exist, it just is really unusual). I don't mean preaching, I mean having lyrics about personal responsibility and being good and society and that, and music that backs it up. I like this, but I kept looking for the Jesus references that are hidden somewhere.
–rich (Gekido Comet)


DS-13:
No One Will Thank You When You Are Dead – A Collection of Old, Rare, Unreleased,: CD
Up there in importance in recent years along with Crudos' Discography and Charles Bronson's Complete Discography, this is a handy way to pick up the bits and pieces not on their full lengths (get Killed by the Kids, if you feel like getting that fuzzy feeling of being staple gunned to a wall), some live tracks, and four previously unreleased ones. Demon System 13? Who's that? One of the banner holders for DIY international hardcore, living proof that American Hardcore: A Tribal History's author, Steven Blush is a fucking idiot asshole for claiming any and all hardcore dead and irrelevant ten years ago. DS-13, as well Crudos and Bronson, were in the spearhead to a nuclear arsenal of bands that continued, raised, and kept relevant the state of hardcore, long after Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, and Minor Threat (three great bands) gave up the ghost. No-bullshit, no stupid metal-disguised-as-punk-because-we're-bald Victory-conspired cruddup. Just pure, fast, hard, intelligent Swedes, who never lost their sense of humor (as evidenced by song titles "Upperclass Vegans Vs. Non-PC Bums" and "The Return of Hardcore Jesus") while pounding away at forty songs. A great introduction to a band that, unfortunately, called it quits.
–todd (Deranged)


DROP DEAD/TOTALITAR:
: Split 7"
What a great combo for a split! I have always liked Drop Dead. They are fast but unique. They always seem to be a step above their peers. The two LPs I have by them are pure classics. They contribute six songs on their side. I believe you can only put about 7-1/2 minutes of music, max, per side on a 7" record. So you know that they are giving you a mass quantity of manic thrash for your gritting teeth to enjoy. Swedish legends, Totalitar, round out this split with their brand of crust meets Dis-core. Three songs that are abrasive as sandpaper and as energetic as a new set of batteries. Two different interpretations of the international madness we call punk.
–don (Prank)


DRIVE LIKE JEHU:
Yank Crime: CD
This album was originally released on Interscope Records in 1994. It was the follow up to their amazing, self-titled first album. Since it was still ’94 and I wasn’t quite as savvy as I am now, I’d still pick up albums on major labels. I bought a copy and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I fucking loved Yank Crime. I spent so much time getting high and listening to it back in those days that, when I put this reissue of the album on now, I catch a contact buzz. So, yeah, I’m excited that this album was re-released. It’s one of those albums that inspired so many crappy bands that you almost have to own it just so that it can stick up for itself. But more than that, Drive Like Jehu was a groundbreaking band, a band that was able to take some of the best elements of Sonic Youth and Fugazi and Rocket From The Crypt (John Reis from RFTC was also in Drive Like Jehu) and fuse them into wild, divergent, powerful songs. At times, Drive Like Jehu were a bit self-indulgent. You do have to sit through thirty seconds of feedback just to get to the song “Super Unison,” and they're not afraid to repeat certain riffs so many times that you go through stages of liking it, getting sick of it, hating it, and liking it again, all in the context of one song. And, on this re-release, they’ve included the original version of “Sinews,” something that was probably best left wallowing in obscurity. But Drive Like Jehu’s originality more than makes up for their periods of self-indulgence. This re-issue also includes two tracks that weren’t included the first time this album was released: “Bullet Train to Vegas” and “Hand over Fist”. Those two songs may be the best thing I’ve heard from Drive Like Jehu.
–sean (Swami)


DRIVE LIKE JEHU:
Yank Crime: CD
Drive Like Jehu, like Jawbox, were two of the very first bands which made me realize that if you imbed the vocalist and use their voice as an instrument instead of it being the focus of a song, the whole composition and intent of music shifts a bit. When this first came out, I listened to it for over a year in high rotation and it wasn't as perishable as other things because it was so dense, but so fast and complex. Prior to Yank Crime, I don't think I'd ever sat through a nine minute song (like "Luau!") without squirming before. With Drive Like Jehu, I didn't get bored with the vocals, because it's so easy to pay attention to any other instrument and take a sneak peek into how songs are made. If you've never heard of Drive Like Jehu, imagine yourself naked and imagine one of those temporary tattoos that comes in a Cracker Jack box. Imagine that tattoo as big as your entire body, have it be a map of a foreign land with lines as complex as your own circulatory system. Wet the tattoo, then have the whole thing applied to the drum of a steamroller. Have it run over you. It's thick, complex, dynamic rock, fast enough for punks, hard enough for rockers, but also very mentally crushing for egghead dorks such as myself. They've got the audio taffy down to a tight science. When the songs slow, they scream and pull in different ways and bring out diverse comparisons, including Kronos Quartet. Differences from the original and this reissue? To no fault of their own, for some baffling reason, a limp wristed squadron of emo bands have latched onto Drive Like Jehu as an influence. Don't let those toolboxes deter you from a great album.
–todd (Swami)


DRESSY BESSY:
Little Music: CD
This would be the perfect band to having playing the big party if you were Jennifer Love Hewitt and something dramatic would happen and the music would just fade out, but people would keep dancing. For anything else it just pretty much blows.
–megan (Kindercore; www.kindercore.com)


DOWNTOWN BROWN:
Moist & Ridiculous: CD
If I owned a farm, I’d scrape me up the biggest pile of horseshit I could, stand back, and toss this disc on top of it just to watch the horseshit dive outta the way so’s no one would think that it was in any way associated with this disc. More succinctly, to say this sucked would be an insult to bands that suck.
–jimmy (www.staticrecords.com)


DOLLY PARTON:
Halos & Horns: CD
This was an impulse buy. My cousin who works for a big recording studio told me about this. He told me that this was brilliant! Brilliant?!? That peaked my curiosity. I am one not to appreciate country music. I think of it as top forty music with a twang in the vocals. At least that is what modern country sounds like to me. I do like Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene,” which was covered with perfection by the band Strawberry Switchblade back in the '80s. I was at Best Buy anyway, buying some blank discs for the computer when I saw this out of the corner of my eye. I grabbed it and said what the hell. I was there to also pick up the new Tracy Chapman. The first thing I noticed on the package when I got home is that she is doing a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” That alone makes it a great purchase. Can’t wait to hear it. I popped the sucker on to hear the stripped down, old school country I remember hearing as a child back in the '70s. Very rootsy and not annoying like the overblown pop that passes as country these days. I discover another cover in this release and it’s Bread’s “If.” I didn’t recognize it at first, but I knew I had heard it somewhere. A brief search on the internet rewards my curiosity. I forward through the CD to “Stairway to Heaven.” Here is a song that I could not stand listening to because of how much it was on the radio and being played by students when I was in junior high and high school. They were teaching the song to the guitar students too. I would hear it everywhere. The only time I enjoyed it was the times I would see Dread Zeppelin play it. They took it as their own and made you believe it was theirs. The same with Dolly. She adds her beautiful voice and rearranges the song to make it her own. It's old school, in the way that people appreciate Johnny Cash. I can’t believe I bought this but I can’t say that I made a mistake.
–don (Sugar Hill)


DISTRACTION, THE:
Calling All Radios: CD
Kudos to the graphic designer, this looks way better than it is. Starts out with "My Sharona" type drums, then adds a bizarrely "We Got the Beat"-esque bass riff, then everything kicks in and it sounds nothing like the aforementioned whatsoever. My best description is "apparent teenagers trying (either knowingly or unwittingly) to emulate the Ruts, minus the reggae parts, with lyrics that, a la Head's The Monkeys album, fail to be minimalistic enough to be interesting solely as minimalism, but succeed at being just minimalistic enough to come off as entirely deficient. But in a nice sleeve." How a band can play fourteen songs in twenty-eight minutes and still sound like they're strictly from plods-ville is beyond me (they musta grown up listening to the Stitches, another band where you'd listen to 'em for like twenty minutes and swear you'd been chained to one spot for three hours). I mean, i'm sure this is supposed to sound like some kind of music i really like, but i really can't put my finger on what kind of music that could possibly be. The beginning of the second side is pretty awright, though. HELPFUL HINT FROM YOUR UNCLE NØRB: Don't bug mom to peg your pantslegs for you until you get the lead out of your asses. BEST/WORST/MOST CREATIVE SONG TITLE: "Rock and Roll" BEST SONG: "Hijack My Heart" or "Razorblade Kiss" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I think "Rock and Roll" is about MRR. I find the line "you don't play rock and roll" rather ironic, considering those singing it aren't exactly wiping Little Richard from Earth's collective memory.
–norb (Dirtnap)


DISGUST:
The Horror of It All...: CD
Here is a band I haven’t heard of in a long time. Their first release and only release that I have is Brutality of War CD that I think came out in 1993. It was and still is a great release! Forward in time, my brother hands me a copy to trade me. If you have met my brother (Katz) before, he is like the punk encyclopedia. I get the 411 from my brother about what’s been going on with the band. He gives me the titles of all their release, format, label and order of releases. Well, the band has gone through some line-up changes too. The only remaining member is the bass player from the original release that I own, but the formula is the same. If you notice the “dis” prefix, you know nine times out of ten that it’s going to be Discharge (the band) influenced. These guys are one of the elite performers of this genre. This disc shows that they continue the legacy. From the opening instrumental title track and all the way through, you are body slammed to the floor from the blaring energy of the music: three bottom-heavy chords of crusty, metal rage. Lyrics of war and injustices that take place on this planet keep the theme in a haiku-like style. If heavy is what you are looking for, buy and spin.
–don (Crimes Against Humanity)


DISCONTENT:
Self-titled: CD and LP
I'm a bit slower than the people around me. I played this LP a bunch and something was very different. My expectations were extremely high. Their Who Killed Vinyl? 7" on Hostage, I still believe, is quite possibly one of the unsung gems of oi in the past five years and their Shot Down CDEP was a teaser of a follow-up. They were posed to claim the kingdom of angry, fisticuff, non-cheesy street rock, neck-and-neck with Bonecrusher. Full of tough, hard stuff they didn't skimp on the hooky melodies. Then it struck me. Discontent found rock, evidenced by the fancier guitar parts, the slower, more filled-in drumming, and the vocals getting less gruff. This, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing. I like rock, but instead of continuing down a path where Discontent could have been undisputed heavyweight kings – there really were few contenders – they've gone into an arena with literally thousands of bands already mastering the same type of music. From the New Bomb Turks to Turbonegro to Zeke to the Candy Snatchers, the bar has been set so high by some already badass bands that have been playing so long. This LP is all competently played and does have some right-on songs, but if I had no prior experience with listening to the band, I'd probably like this a bit more. I was just expecting something different, like spitting my teeth out from getting hit in the mouth instead of a possible opener for Motorhead (who I like.). –Todd (Disaster)
–todd (Disaster)


DILLINGER FOUR:
Situationist Comedy: CD
Todd wouldn’t shut up about these guys and I hadn’t even heard them so he sent me a copy. I was supposed to see them last summer but they cancelled several dates of their tour and mine was the first one they dropped. I have a feeling that if my first exposure to them was live I’d feel differently about them but I guess I’ll have to wait to find that out. My first few listens didn’t impress me much – I thought they sounded too much like too many other bands, and maybe they do, but repeated listens (as per Todd’s recommendation) have driven the whole thing further under my skin and my current take is that they sound much like many of the RIGHT bands (I can’t even tell which ones anymore) and I guess that’s really all you can hope for in the end. Everyone sounds like someone, might as well sound like someone good.
–Cuss Baxter (Fat)


DFI:
Self-titled: CD
This CD starts out strong with a sloppy ripper of a first song but then something goes horribly wrong and we wind up with a drawn out and overly elaborate mating dance between a guitar and a drum machine that lasts for pretty much the rest of the disc. Best I can tell, this so-called "intellectual metal" is the work of one man, a Dave Didonato, who also plays guitar in J Church. I don't think I've ever heard J Church, but as of now, I'm less likely than ever to want to hear them. Too many bands, too little time. Plus I'm a little leery of anyone who's spent this much time shut up in his bedroom with his guitar and his metronome. Sci-fi geek punk just leaves me a little cold. The cover of this CD shows Mr. Didonato (I think) with a bloodied nose – something of a common sight, I'm guessing; with music this annoying, he's probably been fed more than a few knuckle sandwiches in his time. I've always had a soft spot for bands like the Melvins or Flipper who brazenly fuck with their audiences, tripping up the listeners' expectations and assumptions – but it's a tricky thing to pull off. Annoying can all too easily turn into self-indulgent. And when that happens, well, that's when indulgent little geeks get popped in the beezer. There's also a poorly drawn, pixilated cartoon showing Dave D. and his drum machine about to get the algebra beat out of them by an unruly mob of mohawked punkers. Obviously, the role of "annoyer" is one he relishes. And I respect the hell outta that – to a point. Today's Lesson: Spending too much time with a drum machine is a little like spending too much time with a blow-up sex doll. It might be time to get out of the house once in a while, Dave ol' buddy.
–aphid (Honey Bear)


DESTROY MIRANDA:
A Step in Natural Selection: CD
Screamo vocal tendencies mixed with some really jangly and angular pleasant melodies (think D.C. post-core). I remember being at a show that this band played and intensely disliking their music. While this album doesn’t make me a fan by any stretch of the imagination, I wasn’t in as much of a hurry to skip to the next record.
–scott (Lola)


DEFIANCE:
Out of the Ashes: CD
Revisionist anarchy-core, meaning it’s heavy on the oi influences and yet maintains the stereotypical sloganeering first popularized by Crass, utilized by Discharge and Conflict and thereafter taken to ridiculous extremes. While I don’t disagree with most of the sentiments expressed here, their lyrics come off as one big whine and their fuckin’ use of the fuckin’ word “fuck” was pretty fuckin’ ridiculous if not fuckin’ gratuitous, and didn’t fuckin’ make them sound any more fuckin’ angry than they fuckin’ did before, which was the intended fuckin’ effect, I fuckin’ think. Overall, they were better than some I’ve heard wallowing in this pigeonhole, but this complacency with sounding just like everyone else is just exasperating. Ain’t a damn thing defiant about being yet another cheap knockoff. Then again, I guess individuality and creativity are anathema when you’re “another cheap product for the consumer’s head.”
–jimmy (Punk Core)


DECIBATORS/REAGAN NATIONAL CRASH DIET:
: Split 7"
Decibators (spelled “deciBators” on the label: a hint) rock straight up, in the American style of many Scandinavian bands of today; easy enough. RNCD (spelled “RNCD” on the label: an acronym), however, present significant problems for the seasoned pigeonholer (at least one who tries to avoid using the word “quirky”): they’ve got a sort of post-hardcore (circa '85) sound with repetitive dual-gender vocals, repetitive bass line, guitar that goes for the head rather than the gut and slightly offbeat drums. I can’t think of anyone to compare them to: I’ve forgotten every record like this a week after I ceased to own it. Which is to say, it’s pretty good on some level.
–Cuss Baxter (Rooster Cow)


DEADGUY:
Work Ethic: CD
I tried. To. Care, but your Hard-As-Fuck! stance. And your diaperbaby whining. Sent me to bed. My word, it’s boring.
–Cuss Baxter (Blackout!)


DEAD LETTER AUCTION:
Vertigo: CD
I had almost forgotten that shoegazing could sound like this, probably because I sold every last noise-pop record I ever owned that was this horrible to a record store which pandered shamelessly to Anglophilic Britpop fans who wore their bangs in their eyes, boys and girls alike. This is rock for the no self-esteem set, music for people who long for records that were released twelve years ago but still want to pretend to keep up with the times. While I’m sure the band would call this emo (and they’d be right if they were referring to self-indulgent shit in musical form), it has still been a long time since I’ve heard a record which is this singularly awful, regardless of the genre. On the bright side, I’ve always wanted an orange coaster.
–scott (Excursions Into The Abyss)


DAYCARE SWINDLERS:
Heathen Radio: CD
Strong, lean, fast-moving, straight-to-the-point punk. No frills, no bullshit. This has the same concentrated manic energy as a good welterweight boxing match where both fighters just pepper each other's muscles with stinging jabs. Zero art. Zero filler. A straight shot of bare-knuckled, unapologetic punk rock. Refreshing.
–aphid (Go Kart)


D.O.A.:
Win the Battle: CD
I really wish i wasn't assigned this CD to review, as, for the last eight or ten years, i've avoided contact with any new D.O.A. product simply out of respect for my teenage memories of how great they used to be. I mean, shit, Something Better Change was a frickin' beacon in the unholy miasma of crap, piss, retch and swill that passed for "underground" music in 1980 – it was LOUD and FAST and ANGRY and ROCKIN' and GUTTURAL and MELODIC and STIRRING and PASSIONATE and about eighty-seven other fuckin' capitalized adjectives in an era where true Punk Rock sightings were few and far between. Absolutely positively everyone should own that album (and, NO, Bloodied But Unbowed does not count), recent CD reissue quite acceptable (since it doesn't skip during "Thirteen" like all the vinyl copies i've ever heard). Hardcore '81 was a worthy followup in the Shorter/Faster/Dumber spirit of the moment, and the War on 45 8-song 12" which closed out '82 was a surprisingly successful blend of classic D.O.A. sounds with more traditional ROCK influences. After that, i have no fucking CLUE what happened. Let's Wreck the Party – with the exception of their cover of "Singin' in the Rain" and the song that immediately preceded it, "Race Riot" (since it sorta ran right into "Singin' in the Rain" and you kind of couldn't escape it) – was a total pile of limp-ass crap. On 1987's True (North), Strong and Free, the band actually managed to come up with three great songs (out of ten total), but had to re-record a song off an early 45 ("Nazi Training Camp") and a fucking Bachman-Turner Overdrive cover to do so. In 1990, the band called it quits, but not before leaving the world with Murder, one of the best albums of 1990 (admittedly due to lack of competition), half of which was really quite good. If i'm hired to write the screenplay for Get Out of My Life: The D.O.A. Story, it ends right there. Unfortunately, that is not the case: The band – to my everlasting horror! – reformed, and began to emit entirely new strains of ill-advised records. The first reunion record, 13 Flavours of Doom, was kind of okay, i guess; the next one, Loggerheads, was and is, with the exception of the two songs penned by the (tragically deceased) drummer, one of the absolutely positively WORST RECORDS i have ever heard in my LIFE (any genre). I stopped buying D.O.A. records after that; it was too much like watching a septuagenarian Tony Curtis bungle his way thru his lines in the stage musical version of Some Like It Hot – horrible, tragic, sad, and not the least bit compelling in its horrible tragic sadness. The really sad thing is that there haven't been any wholesale changes to the basic D.O.A. sound in the last twenty years, really – it's just that they used to be great, and now they suck utterly. My only theory is that when you're startin' out as a band, you're just kind of flailing in the darkness, trying to make contact; you simply wanna give vent to the demons inside your head. At some point in time, your flailing will beget you an audience, and i suppose one might stop writing songs in hopes of being heard, and start writing songs with the presupposition that they are going to be heard at that time – and perhaps this is the crux of the Great Shittiness. Dunno. All i know is that not only does the band re-do two songs off of 1987's True (North), Strong and Free – a record, mind you, where they were already so thin with songs that they hadda dip into songs they recorded in the late '70s! – and "Dead Men Tell No Tales" which i think was on Murder – but they also cover the Subhumans' "Fuck You" for like the third different time on record. I mean, ??? ...as a workin' joe myself, i don't begrudge anybody the right to make a living (or, for that matter, even to play music); as a D.O.A. fan, however, i'll go on record as saying the records they've put out in the last ten years are fucking god awful and i wish they'd stop releasing them. BEST SONG TITLE: "I Am Canadian" BEST SONG: I dunno, is this counting the stuff they already recorded fifteen years ago or no? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The band's slogan has long been the equation "TALK - ACTION = 0." Recall from 8th grade algebra, if you will, that we can do anything to one side of any given equation so long as we perform the identical operation on the other side. Therefore, let us add the term "ACTION" to both sides. This gives us the following modified equation: "TALK - ACTION + ACTION = 0 + ACTION." Since (- ACTION) and (+ ACTION) cancel each other out, the equation can now be written TALK = 0 + ACTION. Since (0 + x) = x, (0 + ACTION) = ACTION. Therefore, in its simplest form, "TALK - ACTION = 0" can be written TALK = ACTION. Sad, isn't it?
–norb (Sudden Death)


"DEMONS":
Stockholm Slump: CD
First off, how the fuck does one pronounce the band's name? "Quote-Demons-Unquote?" I can't figure out if it's genius in our time, or mere idiocy on a grand scale, like when Social Distortion always used to write out their name with quotation marks AND a hyphen before they could afford to have people write it out for them. My computer says that, alphabetically, "Demons" comes before both ? and the Mysterians and the 101ers (to say nothing of the A's), thus i suppose the kronas would roll right in if more record stores had a " section, but ALL TYPOGRAPHICAL MYSTERY PROTOCOLS ASIDE, i'll go on record as saying that i'm not quite floored, not quite bored with this Scandinavian Rock Posse. Were i to describe their sound as i find fit, i'd say they sounded like the Nomads playing New Bomb Turks covers (their singer actually sounds like he learned English phonetically from Eric Davidson, therefore "dead" become "DAY-id," "degeneration" become "dee-gen-uh-RAY-shawwwn"...synthetic good ol' boy Americanese at its finest!). Were i to describe their sound not using any other bands in the description, i'd say "punked up heavy guitar rock." Were i to describe the band using no sonic references whatsoever, i'd say "the kind of a band whose album cover has red letters on a black background, plus a belt buckle." I dunno. I never really trust bands like these, because i'm never certain that they're not the second coming of the Cult, or that they don't secretly like Guns'n'Roses, or that they don't PUBLICLY like Guns'n'Roses, or any of a million other Crimes Against The Me. That said, i have no specific complaints against this band/record – I mean, it's LOUD, it's ROCK, it has MASS and IMPACT and VOLUME – it's a big ol' ROCK TORRENT – but, at the same time, it's a POLISHED and STATIC rock torrent, a rock torrent that just kinda sits there being, uh...torrential? It's just kinda THERE. It's a LOUD just kinda there, but, all the same, it's still just kinda THERE – a big loud neutral background against which little bits of sonic frippery – a maraca or a vibroslap here, a sax or piano there – become the only parts of the song that are legitimately interest-grabbing (although i will say that the bass had a nice Dukowski-esqueness in spots). Other than that i like it fine. P.S. Less Iron Crosses, more Maltese Crosses. BEST SONG TITLE: "Gang Green Eyes" BEST SONG: "Degeneration Hotel" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: 1. A member of this band has a WHITE LEATHER JACKET (but has far less chevrons than i); 2. "Gang Green" was the nickname of the Green Bay Packers' front four in the late '70s. I once wrote a song about one of them ("Do the Dave Roller") but our guitar player refused to play it.
–norb (Gearhead)


CURSE, THE:
Self-titled: CDEP
Who in the fuck in Philadelphia has the ability to make and perfectly record new, melodic hardcore? I want to shake their hand. The sound's full, all the instruments snarl, and the vocalist is right in the middle of the storm. As it should be. The Curse doesn't sound like a teen-rape band, nor do they sound like the entire band was sterilized, metronomed, click tracked and Pro-tooled to death. The drums don't sound like they were thudded and muddled on sponges, yet the Curse remains rasping and gnashing. Shiny, yet barbed, like huge loops of brand new concertina wire. This shit's so listenable and sounds so alive. If The Curse sucked – which they don't – it'd be glaringly obvious from the quality of the recording alone. The sound? Imagine Black Flag with less breathing room to get weird and angular, melded into Kid Dynamite (the vocalist and the intricate but not obvious shifts in pace, especially). To name contemporaries, I'd go with The Arsons and The Explosion, too. Great company to keep. I keep on turning this higher and wishing it was longer. Shit, yeah.
–todd (Hell Bent)


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